Saturday, October 4

I have a cold and I’m in a piss poor mood

The Winnipeg Free Press never fails to annoy me. When did it become such a right wing rag?

Winnipeg Free Press is creaming itself over how wonderful Harper was during the debate. This rag has some kind of "insiders panel" gimmick going were they are constantly polled for their opinions, which have been consistently pro-Harper:

The online survey was sent to members of the Free Press Insiders panel and was conducted from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.

The debate's impact on voting intentions was mixed, but the Conservatives appear to have gained more traction from it than other parties. May's shining performance is not likely to translate into votes, the survey suggests.

More useless twaddle, this time on the economy with these "Insiders" claiming Harper strongest:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's steady-as-she-goes approach to global economic turmoil has strong voter endorsement in Winnipeg, a new Free Press Insiders survey suggests.

Harper's response to the U.S. financial-sector meltdown and wild stock-market gyrations was backed by 46 per cent of 2,635 members of the Insiders panel who answered an online survey conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday.

NDP Leader Jack Layton's urgent call for an emergency meeting of federal party leaders and new policies to deal with rising fears of a Canadian economic downturn was endorsed by 27 per cent.

But Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion's response -- largely an attack on the minority Conservative government's economic performance -- was backed by just 22 per cent of Insiders, suggesting he has so far failed to capitalize on the strong economic legacy of the Chrétien-Martin years.

Who are these “Insiders” and what were the polling questions? So far, the only thing Harper has offered is a plagiarized McCain quote, the fundamentals of the economy are strong. As blogger Troy’s Scribbles asks, What exactly are these fundamentals that Harper praises?

Hard to tell since Sweater Vest Boy doesn’t have a platform as both Layton and May correctly pointed out during the English debate. Are these Winnipeg Free Press “Insiders” clairvoyants? What makes them think that Harper is strongest on the economy? That lifted statement, the fundamentals of the economy are strong smacks of one of the Bush administration’s penchants for finding meaningless catch phrases as a replacement for actual facts and policy. Remember these gems:

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Axis of Evil

Mission Accomplished

Staying the course

I still have faith in Canadians by and large not being completely fooled by Harper's blue sweater vest image. However, the CONSERVATIVES really did an effective job in emasculating Dion and creating the illusion that he is completely inept with the help of the media. And it seems like they also provided Layton with enough rope to hang himself as far as his ever being PM is concerned.

Whether Layton realizes it or not (or even freaking cares), the majority of Canadians like a caretaker government that balances budgets, doesn't raise taxes, and maintains the status quo with respect to public services they appreciate. That's the reality – most Canadians consider themselves socially progressive but small "c" fiscally conservative.

Those convinced of the smear campaign on Dion are not going to rush to vote for Layton. That's exactly what Harper is counting on. The NDP might gain some soft red Liberals but they'll be fighting the Greens to get those votes while attacking the Liberal brand in the same nuanced way they attacked Harper.

More conservative Liberals will go with Harper, convinced that Conservatives are fiscally prudent and tax cut friendly (again thanks to the media). Some may even hold their noses doing so, recognizing that he is too conservative on social issues and too closely aligned to the US.

What astounds me is how absolutely useless the NDP and Liberal strategists have been. Duceppe wasn't afraid to go into aggressive attack mode on Harper's ass from the get go and it's working for him.

Dion's group deceived themselves into thinking that they could campaign on policy. Good luck with that when Harper set the stage for it being a content free election. Then there is the distraction of wasting time attacking the NDP. What purpose does that serve? Calling the party last century socialists is ridiculous. Do these strategist think we're in the US where the socialist label is poison? Focus on the Liberal's track record on the economy and the fact that Dion actually has a platform with ideas that Canadians can relate to. I highly recommend checking out Newsworld's X Challenge, as posted by blogger Red Tory, and see just how well Harper's team does when they are actually asked to speak. Wake up Liberal strategists, Harper's weakness is his slate of candidates.

As for Layton's claim that he would only focus on Harper in this election, unlike their relentless attack on the Liberals during the last election, it strikes me that he has done very little damage with his non-specific, contrast the leaders, approach. What strategist decided that the "kitchen table vs corporate table" was considered a blow against Harper? Most Canadians don't care if their government is friendly to corporations if it means a stimulated economy and jobs. Sure when you bail out banks with billions when the economy is in a tailspin, then public perception of corporate support becomes extremely jaundiced. But Harper called the election before the economy could fully tank under his guard. And what the hell does a "new kind of strong" mean to anyone? Did the strategist really think some kind of Obamarama love fest was going to happen and Canadians would be swept into believing Layton should be President of Canada?

As for the Winnipeg Free Press and all other corporate media in this country, stop manipulating and start informing the public. You are not helping democracy by dumbing down how elections get covered.

Can our media not get it together to actually demand policy commitments and descriptions from these politicians? Can the media please question Harper on his performance record in Parliament? Can the media drop their partisan hypocrisy and hound Harper on the numerous scandals that plagued his short tenure as PM?

The coverage of this whole election is largely limited to stump speech sound bites and snap polls. We are not the United States and we are not electing a President.

I will vote for a candidate who I dislike immensely because he has the best chance of defeating a CONSERVATIVE. I strongly recommend you visit Vote for Environment to see how you can make your vote count towards kicking Harper to the opposition benches where he belongs.


At 7:28 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

For strategic voting I'm not going with the environment channel, but rather DW, it's just more non-partisan, without jumping on any policies such as environment.

As far as the Economic situation goes I guess Harper wasn't counting on the headlines such as: European leaders call for G8 meeting on economy and the war in Afghanistan cannot be won says every general there.

Glad you have faith in Canadians, I've lost it. Good Luck in Winnipeg.

At 9:10 p.m., Blogger Beijing York said...

Thanks for the input anonymous. What is DW? I would love to check it out.

Good points about the disconnect with the EU. Hopefully the media and other parties pick up on that. But we know that overall, Harper only wants to peg his policies to the US.

Thanks for the luck. We'll need more than that I'm afraid. I can see the Prairies potentially going Conservative in a major way with very few exceptions.

At 7:23 a.m., Blogger Alison said...

Important to stress, I think, that in those ridings where the Cons are a lock or those where a Lib, NDP, or Bloc are a lock, you can vote your conscience. Strategic voting, imho, is just for the close two-way race ridings in which your candidate can't win, but your second choice vote for a Lib, NDP, or Bloc could oust a Con.
Reading round the blogs tonight I'm rather afraid that a lot of people think strategic voting is an across the board effort, which would be rather counterproductive.
But perhaps you don't agree.

At 7:33 a.m., Blogger Alison said...

Harper is winning because he made this election be about just the leaders.
Too late to shift that now - the media laps it up playing paparrazzis.

At 10:07 a.m., Blogger Beijing York said...

You're right Alison. I should have stressed the difference between close races and ridings where there is a clear lock on who will win.

I also agree that it's too late to focus on the teams or quality of the candidates. Pointless since the media won't touch it, except to announce the latest candidate to withdraw.

Have you also noticed that more attention has been payed to the NDP resignations (McKeever in Durham being the latest) and LPC ones (Hughes in Winnipeg)? The woman who was running for the CPC in Halifax who was forced to resign because of criminal (fraud) charges barely got the same amount of coverage despite the fact that there might have very well been some collusion from the CPC in her accessing public funds in the first place.

At 1:11 a.m., Blogger Alison said...

"The woman who was running for the CPC in Halifax who was forced to resign because of criminal (fraud) charges barely got the same amount of coverage despite the fact that there might have very well been some collusion from the CPC in her accessing public funds in the first place."

I looked into that a little on local Halifax blogs. So much infighting between the factions - couldn't get a clear idea of what was true, not knowing any of the players, but someone in the press out there should have been able to.


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